Oaktree Values

Relational culture: (‘Culture of love and honour’, based on Danny Lee Silk’s work.)

At Oaktree Schools, we aim to establish a culture that we believe is a culture that was first established in heaven.
Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 16 ‘..Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.’

A) Culture of love

Heaven on earth looks like heaven’s relational culture being established among people.
The will of God is being done in heaven right now by the Persons of the Trinity. This holy community of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has a way of behaving that manifests the truth we all know: God is love. Heaven coming to earth means that we are drawn into and learn to live in heaven’s culture of love. We can see degree to which His kingdom has come in and through our lives by how perfect our love is—that is, the degree to which we have become mature and complete in our ability to love like God does.
Let’s remember four things Scripture tells us about what perfect, mature love looks like and how the relational culture of heaven works:

1) The foundation: I am perfectly loved

In two of the three passages in the New Testament that refer to perfect love, a common theme appears:
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us . . . Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another . . .
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:10-11, 19)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved . . . (Colossians 3:12)
The foundation for growing up in love is experiencing and coming to live in the reality that we are deeply, perfectly loved by our Father. And if our love is lacking in some way, this is the place we come back to. If we want to live in heaven’s relational culture, then we must be seeking an ever-deepening revelation and conviction of the reality of how He loves us.

2) Fear and punishment are off the table

It’s knowing that we know that we know that we’re unconditionally loved that kills the fear of punishment in our hearts:
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:17-18 NIV)
Many of us hear this verse all the time, but how many of us have experienced a relational culture that is truly free of fear and punishment? How many of us can imagine a life without anxiety, much less believe that this is the reality in which we are made and called to live?
If love and fear are enemies, how will love win the war in our hearts? John gives us a key: “In this world we are like Jesus.” There are many implications to this promise, but one thing it means is that we have the same standing and access before the Father that Jesus has. Jesus wants us, His brothers and sisters, to grow up by entering into what He experiences in His relational culture with the Father—to see ourselves the way He sees us, hear what He says about us, and learn what He dreams for our lives.

3) Love motivates everything we do

In religious cultures, people are motivated to do good by pride and the fear of punishment. They love rules because they give them a sense of control over other people and even God. Forgiveness and reconciliation are difficult and rare in these cultures because people who fail are perceived as unworthy of these things.
But in heaven’s relational culture, being and doing good is driven completely by love. The reason we avoid sin is not because we’re scared of being punished, but because we love ourselves and one another like our Father does. Forgiveness and reconciliation are ongoing practices, because people are seen as worthy of love no matter what they do:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)

4) Love stays on no matter what

People who decide to turn their love off when they get scared aren’t necessarily evil, but they are immature. And the more they listen to fear, the more they will revert to the worst version of themselves.
Our Father wants us to be able to be the best version of ourselves no matter what. And Jesus clarified what that means:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV)
Jesus didn’t mention it at the time, but as Paul clarified later, the truth was that every member of the human race was an enemy of God when He sent His Son to us on a mission of reconciliation. God has never turned His love off toward us, and if we want to grow up and live in His relational culture, then we to learn to do the same for everyone He loves.
Knowing about these truths about the perfect love of God isn’t enough. We were made to live in the relational culture of heaven. May we be passionate about bringing heaven to earth by learning to love like God does.

B) Culture of honor

Rev. 4:11 ‘You are worthy oh Lord to receive glory and honour and power; For You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’ We can give God honour because He honoured us first. In doing so, He changed something about me. He changed who I was in the relationship. He enabled us to give something, because we had nothing. The culture of honour comes through the head. The greater always blesses the lesser with honour. It changes the relationship. Honour then means (according to the dictionary):

To glory in, to promote (‘kabad’)
To elevate another’s status
To give prestige to somebody
Great respect and admiration

Exodus 20:12 (NIV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Look for the glory (the beauty) God has deposited in them in and lock onto that, and drag it to the surface in your relationship with them. Honour is a life-giving principle. That which you honour, you will inherit.

Learning culture:(Values)

Learning leaders

Learning Leaders is a value taken from the Greenleaf-concept of Servant Leadership which focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different.The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. (Greenleaf.org)Learning Leader’s (on the basis of the Servant Leadership model) behaviour is characterized by the following behaviours:

– Empathy
– Listening
– Awareness
– Healing
– FutureThinking
– Persuasive
– Stewardship
– Communitybuilding
– Growing others

Generosity

Our Generosity value is based on 3 verses from the Bible on leading growing, learning and developing lives: Throughout all our experiences, we desire to understand God’s heart for generosity towards us through sending his son, Jesus. Through that grace, we can begin to trust in God’s gracious provision for us and use the resources God has given to serve the world in joy and gratitude. (John 3:16)To order to increase and grow our influence as learning leaders we must be willing to give of our resources, time, knowledge and money without expecting immediate personal benefit in return. “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” (Prov. 11:24-26)Giving is imperative to live a flourishing life in all areas of being: academically, mentally, emotionally, socially, even economically. (Acts 20:35)

Behaviours: (based on 2 Corinthians 9:7 “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerful”)
– Give thoughtfully
– Give voluntarily
– Give cheerfully
– Give enthusiastically

Curiosity

At Oaktree schools we value a curious mind. Psalm 143:5 ‘I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done’. Here we see the Psalmist having a strong desire to understand God and His work and Creation. We understand that part of our identity as God’s children, is to create, as He is the ultimate Creator. Curiosity leads to new questions, which will need new answers, solutions and must then end in innovation. Curiosity thus plays a crucial part in the raising of creative learners

Behaviours:

– Humility, to continuously learn
– Always asking questions (enquiry based learning)
– Fully present
– Willing to be wrong
– Openminded, non-judgemental
– Keen on conversation
– Skilled listeners
– Examining own assumptions
– Valuing collaboration before competition
– Choosing nonconformity and defiance over conformity and compliance

Self-directedness

We value that we have a part to play in the establishing of the Kingdom of God, and that He called us to rulership (Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”).

From this understanding of our identity as Sons and Daughters of God who wants to see the earth prosper and God’s kingdom come, (Romans 8:15) our motivation to make good choices (to be able to steward this responsibility), comes from the heart, as we understand that we have a specific role and purpose to fulfil. We know that we can only control what goes on inside of ourselves (2 Tim. 1:7 AMP For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control], and therefore, effective ‘rulership’/ ‘leadership’ must start by directing myself.

Behaviours:

– Accepts responsibility
– Aware of strengths, gifts and skills
– Risk-takers
– Determined
– Takes initiative
– Comfortable with independence
– Views problems as challenges, not obstacles
– Solution focused

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